Study Shows Human Disturbance Alters Daytime Buck Movement

Buck in FieldIt turns out that hunters do put enough pressure on bucks to alter their daytime movements.

Clint McCoy is a deer biologist for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. While attending Auburn University as a grad student, McCoy participated in a study in which 37 bucks were fitted with GPS radio collars. The collars transmitted GPS locations for each buck every 30 minutes and the bucks were tracked from August 24 to November 22. The bucks ranged in age from 1.5 to 4.5 years old.

The study was conducted on a 6,400-acre hunting property in the Low Country of South Carolina. This parcel of land is actively hunted and consists of mixed forest, swamps, food plots and feeder locations. McCoy mapped all the hunting stand locations and drew a harvest-zone perimeter around them as a way to monitor if the bucks came within reasonable shooting distance of the stands. McCoy also gathered information about when, where and how long hunters were in a stand to help determine hunting-pressure impacts.

The study found that the more a stand was hunted the previous week, the more bucks avoided entering the harvest zone around that stand. If a stand received 12 hours of hunting pressure the previous week, the number of daylight visits within the 150-yard zone were reduced by half. The study also revealed that if a stand was hunted just once, those bucks typically avoided the stand for an average of three days. If a stand had not been hunted within the past five days, deer seemed to be attracted to those areas again. Interestingly, a hunter didn’t have to be seen by a deer for the area to be avoided. Deer were using their sense of smell to determine if a hunter was in the area, even after the hunter was gone. This alone was enough to reduce daytime buck movement around those stands.

Scent Control

This study highlights why scent control is so important not only during the hunt, but after it, too. To help reduce hunting pressure, we recommend a 3-step process for scent elimination.

D/Code Body Wash & Shampoo


D/CODE Body Wash and Shampoo

Start each hunt by washing down with D/CODE Body Wash and Shampoo. This helps reduce the amount of human odor on your body.


D/Code Laundry Detergent


D/CODE Laundry Detergent

Wash all of your hunting clothes in D/CODE Laundry Detergent to remove human and foreign odors. Be sure to store clean, unscented clothing in an airtight container with no chance of odor contamination.


D/Code Field Spray


D/CODE Scent Elimination Spray

Always spray down your gear, boots, stands, etc. with D/CODE Scent Elimination Spray. The study also shows how spraying your entry and exit route to your stand can help cutdown on the human odor left behind. Many of these bucks that showed avoidance did so because of scent left behind.

As we learn more and more about deer and their behavior, it’s smart to utilize technologies available to become a more efficient hunter. Working hard to eliminate human odor can go a long way in your quest to tag a trophy. Don’t unnecessarily pressure your bucks this fall, practice scent control.